Rating roads for motorcyclist safety: Development of a motorcycle road assessment program

Allison Daniello, Kimberly Swanseen, Yusuf A. Mehta, Hampton C. Gabler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Motorcycles are vastly different from other vehicles on the road: they are highly unstable and provide little protection to users. Because of motorcycle instability, variations in road surfaces and geometry may be more hazardous to motorcyclists than to other road users. Road safety ratings for the entire vehicle fleet, primarily cars, have been applied to roadways in Europe, the United States, and Australia. However, these primarily car-oriented systems have limited value for motorcyclists. This study develops a unique road safety rating system designed for motorcyclists. On the basis of normalized motorcycle crash rates, roads were classified into five safety rating categories, ranging from low risk to severe risk. The new methodology for rating roads was applied to 16 roads in New Jersey, covering 1,099.5 mi (1,769.5 km) of road. Roadways were mapped to create a visual representation of the distribution of safety hazards on the analyzed roads. Of these roads, 19% posed a severe risk to motorcyclists. The majority of the roads mapped (27%) had a medium risk for motorcycles. The statewide crash risk mapping was supplemented by an in-depth site investigation of an area known to be particularly hazardous to motorcyclists, to develop a better understanding of potentially dangerous roadway conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2194
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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